Category: Spring 2013

FACULTY NEWS: Merry White, Professor of Anthropology at Boston University, receives the Order of the Rising Sun

April 29th, 2013

Press Release April 29, 2013

On April 29th, the Japanese Government announced that the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, will be conferred upon Ms. Merry White, Professor of Anthropology at Boston University, in recognition of her significant contributions to the development of Japanese studies and the introduction of Japanese culture in the United States of America.

In order to study the contemporary society and culture of Japan, Professor White visits Japan almost every year.  She has recently focused her attention on social space and social changes in urban Japan.  Her many books cover the areas of education,  internationalization, youth and popular culture, family/social policy and women in Japan.  In 2012, she received the John E. Thayer Prize from Japan Society Boston.

In 1997, Professor White introduced a course in the anthropological study of food culture.  In 2002 and 2003, when she was a visiting professor at the Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies, Professor White helped to start a project of importing Cambodian coffee into Japan.  In this project, Cambodian farmers and exporters are linked in a network.  Eleven Japanese companies and one American company have imported Cambodian coffee beans through the project.  Funds obtained from this project were used to construct elementary schools in Cambodia. In 2012, Professor White published Coffee Life in Japan, a study of the place of coffee in Japanese society, which began over 130 years ago.

In contemporary American food life, Japan has become tremendously popular, thanks in part to Professor White’s contributions.  She has written prolifically on Japanese culture in newspaper articles and in magazines, most recently in an article in the Boston Globe introducing many café places in Kyoto.  She has also been featured in a television series about Asian cuisine, called Culinary Asia, for the Discovery Channel. In 2007, she acted as a moderator for an event organized by the Consulate General of Japan in Boston, “Dining Diplomacy: Japanese Cuisine and American Taste”.

In light of these contributions, the Government of Japan acknowledges Professor Merry White as an appropriate person to receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon and is delighted to announce the decoration.


ANNOUNCEMENT/EVENT: College of Communication Names Jeremy Page of The Wall Street Journal the 2013 Hugo Shong Journalist of the Year

April 23rd, 2013

Award Ceremony

Friday April 26
Trustees Ballroom
One Silber way, 9th Floor
Boston University

To RSVP for luncheon attendance, please contact Ms. Lisa Cohen, Office the Dean, College of Communication:

Penning a series of exclusive reports at the heart of China’s biggest political story in decades, The Wall Street Journal‘s Jeremy Page broke open an investigation into the death of British businessman Neil Heywood, which led to the fall of one of China’s top Communist Party leaders, Bo Xilai.

Page, who has been covering China intermittently since 1997, joined The Wall Street Journal in 2010. Since then he has covered foreign relations, the military, and Chinese domestic politics—most notably the Bo Xilai scandal and China’s leadership transition in 2012.

“The awards’ committee agreed that Mr. Page’s coverage of the Bo Xilai affair demonstrated the highest of journalistic standards,” said Tom Fiedler, dean of COM. “His enterprise, his craftsmanship and – perhaps most important – his courage to go forward against pressures from both the Chinese and the British governments yielded a profoundly important series, expertly told.”

“This is a great honor for the whole WSJ team in China,” Page said. “The Bo Xilai saga gave us unprecedented scope to explore the inner workings of the Communist Party elite. I’m fortunate to have done so with some exceptionally talented colleagues at one of the few newspapers still committed to investigative reporting. I’m extremely grateful to Hugo Shong, Boston University’s Department of Journalism, and the award selection committee for recognizing our work.”

“It is exceedingly rare for the reporting of a foreign news organization to penetrate the secretive world of China’s leaders,” said Gerard Baker, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. “Jeremy Page did that and more in 2012 – lifting the veil on the murder of a British citizen that led to the downfall of a leading Chinese Communist party official with a series of exclusive reports that exposed a culture of wealth, corruption, and lawlessness among China’s ruling elite.”

In 2011, Page was part of a team of WSJ reporters to receive The Malcolm Forbes Award for their reporting on how the Communist Party of China’s leadership has changed rules facing foreign multinationals investing in the country.

Prior to joining The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Page was a correspondent for The Times of London, based in Russia and India. He has also worked for Reuters in London, Singapore, and Beijing. Born in London, he graduated from Oxford University with a BA in Chinese Studies in 1997.

Shong earned his M.S. degree from Boston University’s College of Communication in 1987. He was a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998 and the Boston University Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2004. Since 2005, he has been a member of the university’s Board of Trustees.

Jeremy Page will be honored at a luncheon at Boston University on April 26th where he will accept his award.

About the Award

Created by a gift from Hugo Shong (COM ’87), the Hugo Shong Journalist of the Year Award is presented to an individual who has displayed the highest standards of international print journalism in a series of reports on matters of importance specific to Asia. The award includes a cash prize of $10,000.

Previous winners have included David Barboza of The New York Times, Carlotta Gall of The New York Times, and Peter Goodman, formerly of The Washington Post, The New York Times, and currently Executive Business Editor of The Huffington Post.

hugoAbout Hugo Shong

Hugo Shong has been Founding General Partner of IDG Capital Partners since 1993, also of IDG-Accel China Growth Fund and IDG-Accel Capital Fund since 2005 and 2008 respectively.

In 1993, backed by Patrick J. McGovern, founder and chairman of Boston-headquartered International Data Group (IDG), Mr. Shong formed China’s first technology venture capital firm, IDG Capital Partners which was to invest in a string of China’s most successful internet companies such as Baidu, Tencent (QQ), Sohu, Ctrip, and Soufun.

Partnered with Accel Partners in 2005, IDG Capital Partners now has a total of US$3.8 billion and RMB 3.6 billion (US$600 million) under its management in China.

As an award-winning journalist, Mr. Shong also launched and published over 40 magazines in China and Vietnam, including the Chinese editions of Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, National Geographic, Men’s Health and Robert Report, along with the Vietnamese editions of PC World and CIO magazines.

Mr. Shong completed the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program in the fall of 1996. He conducted graduate studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy 1987-88 and earned his MS degree from Boston University’s College of Communication in 1987. He studied Journalism at the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences from 1984 to 1986 and he received a B.A. degree from Hunan University in 1982.

A recipient of Distinguished Alumni Award at College of Communication, Boston University, in 1998, and Boston University Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2004, he has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Boston University since 2005.

For more information, contact: Kira Jastive, 617-358-1240 or


FACULTY NEWS: Rob Weller, BU China anthropologist, recipient of 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship

April 17th, 2013

Robert_Weller_150x150.originalBUCSA is delighted to announce that Robert Weller, Chair of the BU Department of Anthropology, and an expert in Chinese and Taiwanese anthropology, is the recipient of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for 2013.

Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. The Foundation receives between 3,500 and 4,000 applications each year, and approximately 200 Fellowships are awarded each year.

Weller’s project as a Guggenheim Fellow grows in part out of theoretical work done over the past few years with Adam Seligman, and explored most recently in Rethinking Pluralism (2012). That book examines how it can be possible to recognize fundamental differences between one group and another, yet still interact peacefully across the boundary. The book looks especially at the ways in which the ambiguities inherent to all boundaries can be thought about and moves away from the assumption that drawing ever clearer lines of categorization is the only or the best answer. His new project explores, challenges, and further develops those ideas more empirically in eastern China. Based in Nanjing, he will focus on the ability to tolerate ambiguity and the formal acceptance of both religious and political conventions over interpretation—of ritual and shared experience over policy and theology.

For more information see:


EVENT REVIEW: BU at the National Chinese Language Conference

April 17th, 2013

From April 7-9 2013, the National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC), which is “dedicated to encouraging dialogue in the field of Chinese language education and ensuring wide-scale success,” had their 6th annual conference in Boston.

Boston University took part in two panels at the Conference. The first was entitled Next Steps for Our Chinese Language Students: Study In and About China at the University Level.
In this session, panelists will draw from Boston University’s programs of study to demonstrate the  continuity of experiences available to students who are already interested in China and the Chinese  language. Members of the panel will explore the breadth of programs available for such students at  the university level in the following areas: the value and rationale of study abroad in China (in this  case, Shanghai), Chinese language study and subject areas, and the resources of the Center for the  Study of Asia. A student will speak about his experience in transitioning from high school to college  and then to Shanghai in pursuit of his interests. Participants will leave with an understanding of what  opportunities lie ahead for their China-interested and Chinese-proficient college-bound students. With Joe Fewsmith, Weijia Huang, Charlotte MasonDebra Terzian, Lee Veitch.

In a report from Charlotte Mason, a visiting researcher with BUCSA and moderator of the panel:

The B.U. panel’s presentation at NCLC encapsulated the college experience for a prospective student from high school already interested in Chinese language, culture, and history. It did this by drawing generalizations from B.U.’s program.
DSC00911Lee Veitch (Student Ambassador for Boston University Study Abroad Diplomats) said that he felt well prepared by his Chinese teacher at Bronx Science for college level Chinese, but returned to the school later to suggest that simplified characters and pin yin be used. He described how study abroad in Shanghai made him a more focused, more confident, and more engaged student, active in Asiabu. He feels confident in finding work in his field of International Relations.

DSC00913Debra Terzian provided an overview and rationale for study abroad, and described B.U.’s effort to design different models of program at Fudan to attract increasing numbers of students in different majors and at different levels of Chinese language study.

Huang Weijia suggested how Chinese teachers can better prepared their students for college level Chinese, and suggested that better articulation of Chinese levels between schools and college is necessary, as well as differentiated materials.

DSC00915Joe Fewsmith explained that, in this age of globalization, it is increasingly important to engage with Asia to understand issues and solve problems in a world context. He explained that it is a trend in large research universities to create centers for the study of Asia helps to improve communication across disciplines, provide a greater depth of experience for students, and generate more enthusiasm for the field. He said that students who major in Asian Studies (and related fields) and who are proficient in Chinese have many opportunities in the job market: in business, in diplomacy, in academia, and in all professions.

Meanwhile, in the China Across Subject Areas: The Career Connection panel, Boston University professor Robert E. Murowchick, Assistant Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology and Director of the International Center for East Asian Archaeology and Cultural History (ICEAACH) was speaking about Asia throughout the curricula and about opportunities to work in field related to the study of Asia/China.

Robert E. Murowchick

As more and more U.S. students develop high levels of proficiency in Chinese, it becomes ever more necessary to understand the connections between Chinese language learning, other academic content, and career and professional development. It is simply not enough to learn the language or engage with the culture. Students must integrate the study of the Chinese language with a broader vision for their academic and professional interests and their long-term career goals. The participants in this panel are leading voices in the field who have worked with students at all levels to broaden and deepen their understanding of and engagement with China, and to connect language learning with the development of other critical skills. We will hear from representatives of fields and perspectives as diverse as archaeology, engineering and business, and explore the ways in which learning Chinese is helping students to create new and exciting career trajectories. Introduced by Julia de la Torre, Executive Director, Primary Source. Moderated by Sara Judge McCalpin, President, China Institute in America. Speakers: Sigrid Berka, Executive Director, International Engineering Program, University of Rhode Island; Der-lin Chao, Director, Chinese Flagship Program, Hunter College, City University of New York (and President, Chinese Language Teachers Association); Robert E. Murowchick, Director, International Center for East Asian Archaeology and Cultural History, Boston University.


EVENT: BU-India Symposium (5/10/2013)

April 10th, 2013

India Symposium, May 10, 2013, Register

Why India?

Consider that India, with 50% of its 1.2 billion people under 25 years of age, is estimated to be one of the youngest populations by 2020, where the average age will be 29 years compared with 37.5 in the US and China, 42 in Europe and 48 in Japan. India is also projected to be the fastest-growing economy among G20 countries between now and 2050. Based on internal economic measures, India already has 50 million people who have entered the middle class, which is expected to grow to 500 million by 2025. At that point, India will have the world’s largest English-speaking middle class seeking higher education.

The BU-India Symposium

A one-day symposium + breakfast and lunch
free and open to the public!

Please save the Date and Register!

On Friday, May 10, 2013, Boston University will host its first BU-India Symposium. The goals of the Symposium are to have a vibrant discussion on the challenges and opportunities of working with and in India, and to highlight the uniqueness of BU’s historic ties and engagement with India.  Please register to join us for this exciting event. We have a distinguished roster of speakers and look forward to a full day of rich discourse.

The BU-India Symposium
Friday, May 10
9am – 3pm
Metcalf Trustee Center
One Silber Way, 9th floor
Boston, Massachusetts

Continental breakfast (starts at 8:30am) and lunch will be served
We hope that you can join us for this special occasion.

Distinguished Speakers to Include…….

  • Robert A. Brown, President, Boston University
  • Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary, South and Central Asia, US Department of State
  • Her Excellency Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the United States
  • Anand Sudershan, Director, Sylvant Advisors Private Limited and Director, Manipal Global Education Services, Bangalore, India

Logistics for the BU-India Symposium

Metcalf Trustee Center
Building: John and Kathryn Silber Administrative Center
1 Silber Way (9th Floor)
Boston, MA

Closest T Stop: Blandford Street Station
Closest Parking: SMG Garage (Permits Only)
Closest BU Shuttle Stop: C5 (outbound) M4 (inbound)

is required for this event. Please note that space is limited.

In celebration, there is a $500 India Essay Prize contest for BU students

All BU students are eligible – undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time.

To celebrate the BU-India Symposium on May 10, 2013, BU Global Programs announces the India Essay Prize contest for the best student essay submitted by a BU student on an Indian topic. We want to celebrate India through good writing, thus all topics relevant to India – cultural history, scientific achievement, philosophical ideas or other areas – may be submitted. The Essay Prize is for nonfiction prose and we welcome entries that inform, delight, teach and highlight an aspect of India in the form of personal or academic essays, research papers, commentary or biography.

Essays should be less than 1,500 words (3 to 5 pages) and be submitted online with a cover sheet per the submission guidelines below. Entries will be judged by a panel of faculty, staff and/or professional writers.

Deadline for Submission: midnight, Sunday, April 28, 2013.
One winner will receive a $500 award

The winner will be publicly announced on May 10, 2013 at the BU-India Symposium; and the winning submission will be featured on the BU Global Programs website.


ANNOUNCEMENT: BU Global Programs announces the first India Essay Prize contest! WIN $500!

April 9th, 2013


India Essay Prize
Prize: $500 Award
Who: All BU Students
Deadline: April 28, 2013

As part of Boston University’s India Initiatives, and to celebrate the BU-India Symposium on May 10, 2013, BU Global Programs announces the India Essay Prize contest for the best student essay submitted by a BU student on an Indian topic.  We want to celebrate India through good writing, thus all topics relevant to India – cultural history, scientific achievement, philosophical ideas or other areas – may be submitted.  The Essay Prize is for nonfiction prose and we welcome entries that inform, delight, teach and highlight an aspect of India in the form of personal or academic essays, research papers, commentary or biography.  Any student enrolled at BU is eligible to enter – undergraduate or graduate, full-time or part-time.

Essays should be less than 1,500 words (3 to 5 pages) and be submitted online per the submission guidelines below.  Entries will be judged by a panel of faculty, staff and/or professional writers.

  • One winner will receive a $500 award;
  • The winner will be publicly announced on May 10, 2013 at the BU-India Symposium; and
  • The winning submission will be featured on the BU Global Programs website.

Guidelines for Eligibility and Submission

  1. The deadline for submission is midnight, Sunday, April 28, 2013.
  2. All BU students (undergraduate or graduate; part-time or full time) are eligible;
  3. Entries may be nonfiction prose only, and be less than 1,500 words, typed double-spaced in Arial font;
  4. Add your BU student ID# on the top left corner of the essay (the student’s name should NOT appear anywhere on the essay page itself).  Names should appear on the submission form only;
  5. Students may submit multiple entries, each with a new submission form;
  6. Entries written for classes or as part of undergraduate theses are eligible (however, works that have been previously published are not eligible);
  7. The winning essay will be featured on the BU Global Programs website and used for promotion in other media for BU Global Programs. The student will retain copyright.

For further questions and information, please contact Deepti Nijhawan, Director, India initiatives, BU Global Programs at


EVENT REVIEW: BU at the 2013 Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference

April 8th, 2013

Our Asian Studies Presenters and the American Institute of Indian Studies Board meeting

Several faculty and graduate students attended the Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies in San Diego, March 21-24, 2013.

Marié Abe, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Presenter,“Shaking Bodies on Shaky Ground: Henoko Peace Music Festa and the Anti-US Military Base Struggles in Okinawa”

In February 2007, on Henoko Beach in northern Okinawa, a group of musicians held the first “Peace Music Festa” in protest against the construction of a new offshore U.S. military base. A constellation of various musical sounds and political aspirations resounded across the contested beach, simultaneously offering a critique of the imperial politics that has valorized Okinawan difference and celebrating the very difference through diverse musical programming that evoked “multicultural Japan.” This paper offers an ethnographic analysis of the shifting strategies of the festival as it continued annually in the subsequent years. I locate the efficacy of the festival at the intersection of the politics of pleasure, which enables translocal alliances among activists from all over Okinawa as well as mainland Japan, and the politics of survival, which emphasizes the well-being of the economically marginalized local community. Focusing on the performance of these strategies at the Peace Music Festa, this paper considers the possibilities and constraints offered by the rhetoric of multicultural Japan within the specific struggle in Henoko. I will show that while the articulation of a contested site, musical sounds, and the emphasis on conviviality at the Festa enabled a new modality of political expression in Henoko, mobilization of Okinawan difference posed limitations on the organizing efforts for the musicians. Further, I posit that the festival made audible not only the ambivalence of Okinawan difference, but also the internal differences within Okinawa that are often elided in the narrative of Okinawan marginality within the nation state.

Andrew Barton Armstrong, PhD (BU Anthropology), Presenter, “The Japanese ‘Ghetto-Gangsta’: Neighborhood and Experiential Authenticity in Kansai Hip-Hop Performance”

My research treats emergent, outspoken class consciousness among performers of what I call “ghetto-gangsta” hip hop in Japan’s Kansai region. Musicians, including Anarchy from the public housing projects in Mukaijima (Kyoto) and Shingo Nishinari from the day-laborer neighborhood of Nishinari Ward (Osaka), are earning prestige in spite of, but also in part because of their humble origins. My ethnography of Kansai hip hop culture demonstrates that “marginality” is a source of prestige for performers who embody keywords including “ghetto,” “gangsta,” and “Korean,” and who critique Japanese society using language typically associated with right-wing ultranationalists (uyoku). These musicians trump the “authenticity” card, the critique of cultural plagiarism, because they really have experienced economic hardship and social stigmatization, and because in some cases they really are gangsters (yakuza). Their lyrics represent marginal identities that are defined by socioeconomic status and ethnic identity, but the MCs speak of marginality in terms of neighborhood of origin. In a society where people rarely are willing to speak openly about socioeconomic status and ethnicity, neighborhood can function as a proxy and thereby confer experiential authenticity to the musicians. My presentation will analyze the ambivalence that local musicians express towards their neighborhood of origin, and show that they view “Japan” with equally mixed feelings. In doing so I demonstrate that Japan is far less “other” than has often been presumed in anthropological studies.

Joe Fewsmith, Professor of International Relations and Political Science, Presenter, “The Logic and Limits of Political Reform in China”

The idea of incremental political reform has been both assumed and advocated by reformers in China for many years. In the late 1990s and first part of the first decade in the new century there was reason to believe that this vision might become reality: there were hundreds, even thousands, of experiments throughout China that were designed to introduce some measure of openness, usually under the rubric of “inner-party democracy.” A convergence of interests between some in the central government and those on the front lines in the localities lay behind these initiatives. Many of them were widely publicized and set as models for others to follow. Notions of “path dependence” suggest that this progress would be self-sustaining, bringing ever greater returns in terms of better governance and social stability. Unfortunately this has not happened. Although there are still experiments of various sorts, one can say that the thrust of incremental reform has stalled and that the old hierarchical system has reasserted itself, leaving a variety of social problems to accumulate. Drawing on investigations of many reforms throughout China, this paper will explore why the path of incremental political reform has not, to date, been successful and the problems that creates.

Sarah Frederick, Co-Associate Chair of Modern Languages & Comparative Literature, Associate Professor of Japanese, Discussant

Julian Go, Associate Professor of Sociology, Session Organizer, “Asia-Pacific Islands in the Sun of Empire”

Eugenio Menegon, Associate Professor of History, Presenter, “Who was using whom? Europeans, Western Commodities, and the Politics of Gift-Giving in Qing Beijing”

In the early to mid-Qing period around thirty Western European Catholic missionaries lived in Beijing, partly employed in technical services, and partly engaged in religious work. Starting with the Yongzheng reign (1724), Christianity was forbidden empire wide. Yet these foreigners, with semi-official permission, continued missionizing, maintained a network of churches, and acquired real estate in the city and its environs to support their activities. Besides producing luxury objects for the court, the priests also imported Western commodities (tobacco; chocolate; wine; clocks and other mechanical devices; glass objects etc.) for their own use, as exotic gifts, and to resell on the capital’s market. The emperor and the Qing court allowed the Europeans to remain in Beijing and tolerated their religious activities in exchange for their exotic commodities and their services, including those useful for important state-building projects. The European missionaries used their skills and a relentless gift-giving strategy not only to please their main imperial patron, but also to create a network of support among princes, ministers, employees of the Imperial Household Department, eunuchs, and Beijing commoners. Using financial ledgers and reports preserved in European and Chinese archives, this paper will explore the two faces of the medal, asking an apparently simple question: “who was using whom?” Luxury objects and commodities in fact became the currency of negotiation between divergent interests, contributing to weaken Qing imperial prohibitions and laws, and to create ad hoc arrangements tolerated by the emperor, and benefiting the palace personnel, the missionaries, and their communities.

Teena Purohit, Assistant Professor of Religion, Presenter, “The Aga Khan Case of 1866”

In the famous Aga Khan Case of 1866, the British colonial court officially redefined the Khojas’ caste group as part of the “Ismaili Muslim sect.” This paper analyzes how the beliefs and teachings of the Ismaili community were firmly embedded within the diverse cultural practices indigenous to South Asia. These complex identifications were undermined and reshaped as a consequence of the court’s interpretation of sectarianism. The paper offers readings from the devotional texts of the Ismailis to illustrate how the heterogeneous forms of practices peculiar to the vernacular history of Islam in early modern South Asia were displaced by the culturally alien discourse of sect and religious identity in the colonial period.

Robert Weller, Chair of Anthropology, Professor of Anthropology, Presenter, “Religious Pluralism in Chinese Policy and Practice”

Religious pluralism in China is part of the larger problem of how to deal with diversities of all kinds, with those differences of category and qualities of boundary that are so much a part of human life. Policy solutions to these problems usually attempt to clarify and control the boundaries between groups through what might be called processes of notation—adopting laws, statutes, and regulations. The first part of this paper traces the evolution of modern Chinese policies toward religion and the kind of vision they create for a plural society. The space of shared experience beyond this notational effort, however, can be just as important in understanding how diversity can survive successfully. Part of China’s current adaptability is its ability to accept a mismatch between notation and shared experience to create a form of informal governance with its own internal tensions, but which has delivered increased religious space for most of its population. This form of governance involves officials turning a blind eye to religious behavior beyond the law as long as adherents pay lip service to the regulatory world. The paper concludes with some thoughts about comparative situations where such “blind-eye” governance become important.

Frank Korom, BU representative, Board of Trustees meeting of the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS)

Frank Korom (Religion and Anthropology) attended as BU representative the annual Board of Trustees meeting of the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), held during the AAS Conference, and reports on the proceedings:

The AIIS is without a doubt the major funder of educational enterprises in India. It supports both language study in India as well as junior and senior research fellowships, with short- and long-term grants ranging in duration from 1-3 months and 6-9 months respectively. Formerly, much of the operating budget came from a rupee fund handled by the Smithsonian, but this money has been drawn down over the years, so now new sources of revenue are being sought through aggressive fundraising campaigns both in the US and in India. Investing also continues, but the recession and the current state of the economy has taken its toll on AIIS, as it has on other such operations (e.g., Fulbright), which has led to budget and staff cuts. Despite this, over 2000 fellowships were awarded in the previous academic year (consisting of both language and research fellowships).

Due to the decrease in operating budget, the major issue that immediately confronts the AIIS is how to generate more income to sustain operations in India that support the research of American and Indian scholars. To this end, large investments were made in facility renovations, which will eventually generate funds in the long term through rent income. In the meantime, however, the budget is very tight, which means that there may be cutbacks, such as those implemented by Fulbright and other federal granting agencies. The cutbacks might consist of eliminating spousal support or reducing the duration of grants. A last resort might be to reduce the amount of the monthly stipend provided to junior and senior scholars. It is most likely that senior scholars would be hit the hardest, since a major goal of the AIIS is to train future scholars of India through language training, then doctoral research. The Board felt that this was a reasonable move.

As for BU, we have already benefitted from our membership with AIIS. We have had students attend summer language programs in India, and a few faculty have applied for research fellowships.. However, with the growth of South Asian Studies at BU and the new India Initiative launched by the president of the university, it is likely that more and more faculty and students will avail themselves of the benefits afforded by AIIS membership.


NEWS: BU Japanese Professor Presents on the Benefits of Language Exchange

April 6th, 2013

Mariko Henstock on the Benefits of Language Exchange“If a friend accidentally spilled coffee on your computer, how do you react?” Dr. Mariko Henstock asked her third year Japanese II class on a Friday afternoon to act out the scenario in a role play. The majority of the American students in the class demanded that their friend pay for the damage. The Japanese students, who were visiting the class that day, were in shock by this. In contrast to their American counterparts, they had no expectation that the other person should pay for it, and responded “it’s okay” when it was their turn to role play. “They experienced the huge difference in culture,” Henstock explained about the activity after class. “Both sides learned a lot, and both sides were so excited.”

Dr. Henstock, as the Director of Outreach and Co-Curricular Activities for Japanese at the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature, regularly organizes language exchange activities with CELOP, and recently presented on this topic at the Boston University (BU) Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching (CEIT) 2013 Instructional Innovation Conference. Titled “Examining the Bi-Directional Benefits of Language Exchanges”, the presentation discussed the benefits of Lunch Exchanges and Exchange Classes. According to a survey of CELOP students who took part in Fall 2012, 97% of CELOP students agreed that the exchanges have motivated them to study more English, increased their confidence to speak English, and that now they want to come back to BU even more because of the exchanges. Henstock highlighted some CELOP students’ comments in her presentation: “it is a lot easier to talk during class visits,” “not just learning Japanese and English language, but also learning partners’ thinking and character, etc. will help me in my life,” and “what is surprising is that my common sense isn’t common sense in the US.”

You can get the sense from talking to Professor Henstock that the benefits go deeper than practice with listening and speaking. “Ever since I came to [the US], I always was thinking I want to help the friendships between the two countries,” she explains. For Henstock, friendships can translate to real world change. She cites an example about a BU student giving a speech at MIT about challenging stereotypes. “What he is saying is he had this stereotype of Japanese people just wanting to be alone and isolated. He didn’t really have any contact with Japanese people, and so through lunch exchanges and class visits he met Japanese students and then thought, oh they are so fun, and nice. So the theme of his paper is about challenging stereotypes.”  If friendship has the power to break down stereotypes, and promote understanding between groups of people, then the exchanges are doing a very good job of that – 97% of CELOP students that took part agreed that they made BU student friends through the exchanges.  ”We can potentially change people’s lives, and I think we have succeeded in that regard for a number of students. There are so many problems internationally; if we can make a difference, one person at a time, and help form friendships, then that’s just a wonderful gift.”

Dr. Henstock’s presentation abstract and slides can be found and downloaded on the CEIT Fifth Annual Instructional Innovation Conference website.


EVENT: Lu Xun and East Asia: An International Conference (4/5+6 2013)

April 2nd, 2013



EVENT: An evening with DR. TOSHI YOSHIHARA, Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Naval War College (4/16/2013)

April 1st, 2013


Dr. Toshi Yoshihara of the US Naval War College will speak on The Future of Martime Security in the Pacific, buffet dinner and book signing for Red Star Over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy; a collaborative event with World Boston and the Boston University Center for the Study of Asia. Dr. Yoshihara is a Professor of Strategy and John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.  He is an affiliate member of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the war college. He is co-author of Red Star Over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy (Naval Institute Press, 2010), Indian Naval Strategy in the Twenty-first Century (Routledge, 2009), and Chinese Naval Strategy in the Twenty-first Century: The Turn to Mahan (Routledge, 2008). He is also co-editor of Asia Looks Seaward: Power and Maritime Strategy (Praeger, 2008). Dr. Yoshihara holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

Registration for this event is strongly recommended.